Friday, June 25, 2010

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery have joined forces with award winning, picture book illustrator Tim Hopgood to create a free Family Trail to encourage children and their families to engage
with and get excited about portraiture this summer.
These free activities are part of the BP Portrait Award 2010 exhibition which runs from 24th June - 19th September with a special Moving Family Portraits event on Saturday 17th July.
Hopgood has been commissioned to create a set of original children’s characters that will appear at the entrance to the exhibition and on labels around the show highlighting paintings that are of particular interest to children. The twin characters are central to the Gallery’s free Family Trail which features a series of specially designed games and tours of the exhibition.
The Gallery has also asked Hopgood and two supporting animators to run the Gallery’s Moving Family Portraits event on Saturday 17th July, where children visiting the exhibition will be invited to experiment with drawing, painting or collage to create their own self portrait. The images will then be animated so that each portrait blends seamlessly with the next to create a film of continually changing faces of everyone who takes part on the day. The animation will be shown on the Gallery’s big screen at the end of the day.
Hopgood came to the attention of the gallery following the publication of his award-winning,
richly illustrated children’s books including, OUR BIG BLUE SOFA, A DOG CALLED ROD’
Jan Cullen, Family Programmes Manager at the National Portrait Gallery said: “We chose Tim Hopgood as we felt his style of illustration was fresh and appealing and would be a huge success with our target audience. We were impressed with his ideas on how families might engage with portraiture. He has been fantastic to work with and the results are amazing” Hopgood's unique illustrative style has bought a fresh approach to children’s picture books.
He has won numerous awards and accolades for his work including the coveted Booktrust Emerging Illustrator Award in 2008. Hopgood’s characters are being developed for a collection of merchandise, including badges and bags, for the Gallery. These, along with a collection of Hopgood’s children’s books, will be on sale during the exhibition.

Carnegie and Greenaway Medals

Neil Gaiman yesterday became the first author to win the Carnegie/Newbery Medal double - the awards are the most prestigious for children's books in the UK and US respectively, and both are judged by librarians - when he took the Carnegie for The Graveyard Book (Bloomsbury). Freya Blackwood won the Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration, for Harry and Hopper (written by Margaret Wise, and published by Scholastic). You can read an interview with Freya Blackwood in the autumn edition of Carousel.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


There will be a slight delay between your comment being typed and appearing on the comments section of this blog. This is because some idiots have used the comments for daft things and so all comments come now to me to press the yes or no button! enid stephenson

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bookshops: your recommendations

From Book Notes in the current edition of Carousel:

Many of you will have a favourite local bookshop, whether independent or part of a chain. But the whole trade is facing extraordinary challenges. Customers have got used to quite ridiculous price cuts where the latest best-selling title is sold for half the price printed on the jacket and whilst, in the short term, this leads to good sales for the few the effect on the whole trade is the very opposite...The Booksellers Association state that two independent bookshops closed per week during 2009. We would love to know about your own neighbourhood bookshop. Record shops have almost completely vanished and it would be appalling if bookshops followed suit. There are some excellent shops out there, so let's pass the word round. Please click on the comment button and let us know your favourite shop, and why. Thanks.

Libraries: your comments

From Book Notes in the current issue of Carousel:

In March the Government published their long-awaited "Modernisation Review" of public libraries. The Society of Chief Librarians also published their manifesto entitled "The Numbers". It appears that overall borrowings are down and there are increased mutterings about libraries being community centres, decreasing their book stock and increasing other non-book items. Tim Coates, formerly of Waterstones and now a vocal library campaigner says "All the thinking and all the immense power in the public library service is in the hands of people who are more interested in the mechanisms and agendas of national and local government than they are in books and reading". Libraries are changing, and need to change but it does seem that some of the changes are ill thought through. In our local Suffolk library, for instance, there is no need to ever talk to a librarian. Books can be ordered online (which I welcome), then you take them off the reserved shelf, check it out and indeed check it back in. What is your experience? Do let us know.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Top Puffin

Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl has been voted Puffin of Puffins in a nationwide poll, in which more than 10,000 votes were cast. It won 68% of the online vote, while Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came in second with just 13%. The poll marked Puffin's 70th birthday and the relaunch of Puffin Modern Classics.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Former poet laureate and chair of the MLA Sir Andrew Motion has described any move to cut library spending as "foolhardy". Concerns have grown over the future of library funding in the run up to the budget announcement on 22nd June, which is likely to include swingeing cuts across sectors in a bid to reduce some of the country's deficit.
While Motion acknowledged there was no "harm in society periodically asking itself which services should be publicly funded, and how they should be run", and that the sector was already planning to deliver "quality library services with less money", he stressed its overriding value.
There was a report on the Today Programme on 8 June about KPMG Consultancy's blueprint of how the public sector could be reformed. A spokesman for KPMG said that whilst libraries are hugely important in the national psyche - we all think libraries are important - there is a problem with libraries, they are not very much used and they are very expensive to run...we are not suggesting in this report that libraries should be closed down what we are saying is that libraries and other community facilities might be better off if they were run by the communities that value them rather than by the state.
Tim Coates on Newsnight (9 June) supporting libraries seemed to hint that there was too much management in the least I think that was what he said.
I guess the KPMG report was meant to be controversial. Tim Coates did address their not much used line with this statistic "260 million books sold in bookshop and on line whereas 320 million are borrowed from public libraries". The main groups who used libraries were, surprise, surprise small children, young people with families and school children.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Joel Stewart

Award-winning illustrator and author Joel Stewart has been approached by Ragdoll Productions (In the Night Garden, Teletubbies) to develop a project for CBeebies.
Ragdoll Productions contacted Joel after apparently being enchanted by the 'filmic' feel of his work, which includes Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie and Have You Ever Seen a Sneep.
Still at a developmental stage, Abney & Teal, which centres on two friends, is a pre-school series aimed at children aged three and four.
The 52 x 11 mins animations combine CGI with real illustrations and puppets to recreate the handmade feel of traditional animation.
Stewart's latest book, Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie on the Road, will be published by Random House Children's Books in June.

Manchester Children's Books Festival

Manchester will host the Children’s Book Festival for the first time this summer from 1st-4th July, in partnership with local schools and libraries.
Michael Rosen will be joined by other authors and illustrators who will be introduced by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
For more information go to

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Nottingham and Angus Awards

The Nottingham Children's Book Award for 3-5yr olds has been won by Nick Sharratt with Foggy Foggy Forest

Angus Book Award 2010 the winner is Rachel Ward, for her novel Numbers published by Chicken House. Pupils, librarians, teachers and the four shortlisted authors gathered in Kirriemuir town hall on 18 May to present Rachel with her trophy, a replica of the Aberlemno Serpent Stone, and £500.

2010 Red House Children's Book Award

The gripping and imaginative futuristic thriller The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has won the Red House Children's Book Award 2010.
Voted for solely by young readers from a shortlist drawn up by children'sbook groups across Britain, the award is celebrating its 30th birthday thisyear and is recognised by authors, parents and librarians as a key indicatorof which books are popular with children.
The Hunger Games (Scholastic) won both the older readers' category and overall prizes in the award, which is owned and coordinated by the Federation of Children's Book Groups.
Suzanne Collins's victory was announced at an awards luncheon held at theBirmingham Botanical Gardens, attended by 200 people, including more than 80children from across the country, all of whom were involved in the voting.Unfortunately, Suzanne was not able to attend the ceremony, but she sent the following statement:
"I'm thrilled that The Hunger Games has won the Red House Children's BookAward.The fact that The Hunger Games was chosen as a favourite among more than a thousand titles by young readers means a great deal to me, and it's an honour to accept this award, especially upon its 30th anniversary.Thank you, and may the odds be ever in your favour."
Two other category winners in the 30th annual award were also announced:Jeanne Willis and Adam Stower's laugh-out-loud funny picture book BottomsUp! (Puffin Books) has won the category for younger children, while Tanya Landman's fast-paced mystery story Mondays are Murder (Walker Books) hasclinched the younger readers' category.
An incredible 140,481 votes were cast by children and young adults all over the UK.